Tonight I'm sitting in a hostel in Banff, Canada, as 20-somethings walk past me in and out of the hostel bar, out of which emanate the sounds of laughter and billiards, providing a great atmosphere for thinking and writing. Usually I would join them, but tonight another aspect, a more personal aspect of 1900 Footprints has been on my mind and for the first time I would like to share it.
A Lump in the Throat
After having finished university in 2013 I found it very difficult to get work whilst seeing friends around me begin their professional careers. For the majority of the over one-hundred job applications I completed, I did not even receive a reply to an application on which I had spent hours working.
For the first time in my life I was feeling that I was failing. Furthermore, this failure was tied to a topic that was most important to me - environmental conservation - as I had studied science at university with the belief that I could make significant, positive change in this area.
At this point it was mid-2014 and I was feeling very unempowered and disheartened about my own ability to make a contribution in this world. Out of nowhere I got a job in sustainability, and things were looking up! However, I struggled with the competitive work culture of the particular organisation for which I was working and through my interactions with the executive, felt as though my role was a facade: the organisation's attempt at 'greenwashing'. I was working without clear purpose.
In a way, I have to be somewhat appreciative of this experience because it was during this time that the ideas that eventually became 1900 Footprints started to form in my mind - perhaps it was my metaphorical 'escape' from the daily grind! But after five months I left the job feeling even less empowered or motivated as an individual. It was quite a low point; I would call it a mild, circumstance-based depression.
It was time to make a change.
Big Steps Forward
Deciding to do something completely different and work at Wollangarra in 2016 was one of the first steps out of that frame of mind, and it was an incredibly liberating experience. It was easily the most adventurous, exciting, thrilling, diverse and rewarding year of my life, but when my time at 'Woll' came to an end earlier this year I still left feeling as though a part of me was missing. It was my Voice.
This brings me to the topic of my post today. I am sharing this experience with you now to let you know that 1900 Footprints is not just a genuine effort to raise awareness for conservation in Australia, but it also represents a step in my own personal journey.
Practice Makes Progress
Coincidences are incredible! Sixteen days into my 7 - 10 day spontaneous hitchhiking trip into the Canadian Rocky mountains and I have been offered a job as an Interpretive Guide in Lake Louise, where I will be enthusiastically engaging with hordes of tourists about the natural history of the Bow Valley over the Canadian Summer.
I see this as a sublime opportunity to use my voice and to practice engaging with and (hopefully!) inspiring people about nature, which will be a significant part of my time on the road during the 1900 Footprints journey.
Everything is falling into place!
So from here on in I'm just going to give it a red, hot go. And together, along with the love and support of everyone following the journey, I know that this 1900 Footprints project will be as successful as it can possibly be!
I'm super excited and can't wait to start this journey with you.
Until next time,